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In 1948, Eero Saarinen won a contest to build a special monument to the spirit of westward expansion in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis was the perfect place for such a monument. It was the starting point of the 1804 Lewis and Clark journey. On this journey, William Clark and Meriwether Lewis explored the American west.


Saarinen drew up plans for a 630-foot-tall steel arch on the banks of the Mississippi River, which flows through St. Louis. On October 28, 1965, 17 years after the project started, and four years after Saarinen himself died, the arch was completed.


Today, the Gateway Arch is one of America’s most famous symbols. It is also America’s tallest monument and the world’s tallest arch. Four million people visit the arch each year.